New York’s Professional Firefighters Vote to Censure Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz

Syracuse Local 280 Members cite hostile workplace, contract violations, and measures that threaten public safety as reasons for rebuke.

The union representing 18,000 professional firefighters, including members of Syracuse Local 280, passed a resolution to censure Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz for conduct detrimental to the department and to public safety.

The New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association presented the resolution to delegates attending its annual convention, taking place in Syracuse this year.

“Chief Linnertz continues to make decisions that put residents and Local 280 members at risk, violate the terms of the contract and create a hostile work environment among the firefighting ranks,” said Sam Fresina, NYSPFFA president. “Our Local has spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees opposing the chief’s efforts to improperly and unilaterally implement policies and procedures that violate existing standard operating procedures, rules and the collective bargaining agreement.”

Local 280 alleges Chief Linnertz maintains a hostile and aggressive tone toward department members, negotiates with individuals rather than the Local, and denies or delays contracted benefits. In one case, he denied benefits to a firefighter who had a heart attack while fighting a fire. The firefighter has since retired under the duress of the denial.

“Chief Linnertz will be notified of our disappointment, and our actions will be shared through the Washington-D.C.-based International Association of Fire Fighters,” Fresina said.

NYSPFFA represents approximately 18,000 men and women working full-time as members of municipal fire departments across the state. NYSPFFA advocates on behalf of members who serve in 106 local unions, 41 counties and in the boroughs of New York City.


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